Abandoned Dorset: Disused Church


This small neo-Romanesque style church was completely rebuilt by Sir Richard Glyn in around 1860, reusing some parts from the original 12th century Norman church on the site. In 1887 stained glass windows, a new font, lectern and chalice were presented to the Church by Sir Glyn, to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Sir Glyn lived nearby in Gaunt’s House and his name can be found on plaques throughout the church.

The church was used as a chapel for nearby Dumpton School which at the time occupied Gaunt’s House. Dumpton School left Gaunt’s House and the church in 1988, making it redundant. Today it’s in a dilapidated state, with a few smashed windows and paint peeling from the ancient walls. The cold, dark building had an eerie feel, with just the occasional car passing the nearby road interrupting the divine silence. Bibles and hymn books lie gathering dust as cobwebs multiply in the arches of the ornate stained glass windows. Thankfully there are few signs of any vandalism of this beautiful abandoned church, with just a few empty cans dotted about the derelict building.

The church is dedicated to St. Kenelm, one of only seven churches in the UK dedicated to him. According to legend, St Kenelm was a member of the royal family of Mercia. Despite having a dream warning him of the danger, he was murdered by an ambitious relative. His body was discovered by miraculous intervention, and transported by the monks of Winchcombe to a shrine, where it remained as a site of pilgrimage for several hundred years.

Last Updated on 26 July 2022 by Michael


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